A group of civil rights activists who initially jumped to the defense of Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts last week have changed their tune. They are now demanding that Watts apologize to the LAPD for suggesting police pulled the race card and are saying she “cried wolf” in doing so.
Watts was uncooperative with Sgt. Jim Parker when he asked her to show her ID and briefly detained her, following calls to 911 complaining about indecent exposure and lewd sexual acts in public. Images surfaced which allegedly show Watts in a compromising position, straddling her partner James Lucas while he is seated in the passenger’s-side seat of a silver Mercedes Benz.
“It’s like crying wolf. And crying wolf. After a while it has no meaning,” said Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinston to NBC News in Los Angeles. Hutchinson is the president and founder of the Urban Policy Roundtable.
“You must have your facts. You cannot rush to judgment,” said Hutchinson, seemingly about both his initial reaction and the media’s haste to report the Watts incident as being racially motivated. “There was probable cause for the stop. There was probable cause for the detention,” he expressed to NBC.
In a joint statement released by Hutchinson and Najee Ali, who heads an activist group called Project Islamic Hope, the two posited that Watts’ claims undermine and have actually caused damage to the legitimacy of future incidences of racial profiling:
Civil rights leaders take the charge of racial profiling seriously, and [it] is not to be claimed frivolously. Anyone who uses that charge to cover wrongdoing will be denounced. This is the case with Watts, and this will send the message that there must be grounds for claims of racial profiling to be credible.
Radio personality Larry Elder expressed a similar sentiment when he sent out the following Tweet:
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) September 17, 2014
And entertainment reporter Marcellas Reynolds agreed with activists that Watts should say she’s sorry:
Disgusted by #DanieleWatts. We defended you. We believed your tears. Shameless. You owe every1 an apology especially those truly victimized.
— Marcellas Reynolds (@MarqueeMarc) September 17, 2014
Watts’ Facebook page has been littered with hundreds of negative posts, many of which are calling her out for the very same issues. One user by the name of Jordan Dermont wrote:
I’m black, but the latest audio that was released proved to MANY people that this Danielle Watts actress is a calculating, attention seeking DIVA who refused to cooperate. The cop was doing his job, was professional AND WAS VERY POLITE! Shame on her and all our “black leaders” trying to use this ridiculous case to play the race card. There’s real racism out there. THIS ISN’T ONE OF THEM.
His comments were followed with a similar tone from a woman named Brittany Nicole, who said she is a black woman and is married to a white police officer. She referred to Watts as “the girl who cried wolf” and expressed that she is “ashamed” of the entire situation:
Can we as black people stop pulling the race card EVERY single time we get in trouble. And you have the nerve to say you understand police work because you put on [a] costume. Pathetic! I am black and married to A WHITE POLICE OFFICER. You have no idea what they go through because of entitled people like yourself. Just give him your I.D.! You need to go look up the definition of freedom and re-read the Constitution.
Public sentiment did vary, however. Not all users felt the need for an apology:
— Jasmyne Cannick (@jasmyne) September 19, 2014